extra credit

February 17, 2012

Talk about the movie or event you saw for extra credit.



  1. The past two weeks, I’ve seen two films: Main Noon Ha and Fight Club. The former film is a Bollywood picture (which is something completely new to me), and I’ve already seen the latter (though I’ve needed to re-watch it since it has been some time). Both films were thoroughly enjoyable, though for different reasons.

    Main Hoon Na was an…interesting film that interspersed high school-esque antics with action scenes that look inspired from such things as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando (among others). It contains action scenes with unconvincing special effects and musical sequences that are decidedly campy and blur the lines of reality (the movie never quite reaches a consistency whether or not the song and dances actually occur in this world).

    The protagonist, Ram, is an undercover agent of the Indian military who blends in with a college environment as a student, keeping an eye on his superior’s daughter while watching out for a terrorist out to sever relations between India and Pakistan. Along the way, he meets his long-lost brother and his true mother. He struggles to hide this information as he reconciles his family’s issues and falls in love with a teacher with backup singers that may or may not exist.

    While the movie certainly has its serious moments (the actors are definitely genuine and there are some dramatic confrontations), the film had a plethora of laugh-at-loud moments (including several places where the fundamental laws of physics are disregarded). For the most part, the movie does not take itself seriously, though there are shades of deeper undertones such as foreign relations and family unity. Because of the way the movie was presented, however, it is hard for me to come up with a consistent emotion, which would be a downside by most standards. Still, the movie was overall lighthearted and certainly a unique experience. It quickly grew on me and earns my recommendation.

    As for Fight Club, I have already seen the film so I knew exactly what to expect. I paid special attentions during this viewing so I could come up with some unique observations. Something I was not consciously aware of prior to this viewing was that the main character did not, in fact, have a known name (other than we are led to believe it is not Tyler Durden, the name of his other personality).

    This is, I gather, a very important theme throughout the movie. The main character is anonymous and meant to represent anonymity. He is in contrast to Tyler, who is smooth, takes action and orates with conviction. In essence, Tyler is everything the character wants to be, and represents “lost masculinity” in society that he seeks to reclaim.

    The main character states his emotions under the pseudonym of “Jack,” a name he seemingly picked up from the poem he read near the beginning of the film. His identity is intentionally left out to leave a lasting impression with the audience – he starts out as the everyman. I have not read the book, but I know that it has a different ending. The ending the filmmaker chose reflects his state of mind – as he stands with his lover amidst the collapsing buildings, he states that he is “okay.” As the audience, we are apt to believe him. While the landscape of the working world is irrevocably changed, he has a personal victory in accepting the responsibility and having conquered his antagonistic self.

  2. Fight Club was a movie that I’d seen several times before, but it had been a long time since I’d seen it last. It’s one of those movies that you see once and you’re blown away by the plot twist, and then you see it again and upon seeing it again, you see the whole thing in a different light.

    Since the first time I saw this movie, I’ve always loved the run-down house that the Narrator comes to live in with Tyler Durden. I noticed that the lighting whenever they are in the house is different from whenever they are anywhere else. It washes the characters/actors out, and it’s certainly not flattering. I always wondered if it had some special significance, like perhaps alluding to the tension of Tyler and the Narrator never interacting with Marla at the same time, or Tyler threatening the Narrator to never speak to Marla about him.

    This is also one of those rare instances where we have an unreliable narrator, and not because the narrator themself is unreliable, but because the narrator is unaware that he is suffering from dissociated personalities.

    I found it difficult to recall how I felt the first time I saw this movie, since it was so long ago. I was aware of every plot twist and in a way, it sort of ruins the movie. Like the movie Memento, starring Guy Pearce, it’s one of those movies that you can only see so many times before it gets a little boring, mainly because you’ve already been shocked by the ending. and then upon seeing it again, you view it in a new light, looking at all the characters in a different way and it makes it new again. But that newness wears off (at least for me) after I’ve seen it multiple times past that. It remains a great movie, but I lose interest when I’m already aware of what’s going to happen at the climax of the movie.

    Still, it ranks as one of my favorite films.

    It also seems like I’ve broken the first rule of Fight Club.
    …Don’t talk about Fight Club.

  3. I attended the first session of the Undergraduate Conference at 9:05 when Dani and Robin presented. Dani talked about the 1982 film, “Porky’s” and Robin read her paper on “Mirrors in the Café”, a Carson McCullers short story. Although I was unfamiliar with both of these works, it was really great to hear the critical analyses presented.
    In Dani’s presentation I learned about the sexual and social attitudes in the film. She talked about the physical appearance of the characters and what that was supposed to say about their class. The boys who were clean-cut represented the middle class, but the ones who may have been overweight were of the lower class. Dani also talked about the free sexuality of the female characters. She noted that this hadn’t been seen before in previous films. After both presentations Dani and Robin came to the conclusion that in “Porky’s” there were sexual relations without romantic love, and in “Mirrors in the Café” there was romantic love without sexual relations.
    I’m really interested in reading “Mirrors in the Café” since hearing Robin’s presentation. The way she described the characters showed how she really cares about this work. It must be entertaining then. Also, the author was from Georgia and wrote about Georgia, which is where I am from, so I already feel connected. I was very impressed with the amount of effort each presenter put into analyzing her film or story.

  4. Mortal Storm

    This film surprised me in multiple ways! First, the narrative elements of Mortal Storm were way before its time! I was surprised about the amount of information that was captured in the film. One of the speakers present at the film showing that has studied this pre-war time period and films like Mortal Storm that depict it revealed that only six days after the film was release America stopped “accepting” Germans in to the country. Although the film probably had little to do with it, it shows how current the thoughts and ideas from the film were.

    The use of shadows at the end of the film made a very important impact. As the young brother realizes that his family has been destroyed by the new beliefs and orders of the new German chancellor, Hitler, he walks around what was once his kitchen table in his old home. As he looks at the shadows of his father’s chair, his sister’s chair, and his father’s trophy/ stature, voice overs are heard replaying lines from the first few scenes of the film. As a viewer, I was left with the feeling that the young brother, who chose to follow Hitler instead of his family’s, and especially his father’s, passive beliefs.

    And, as a final note, Jimmy Stewart was a very talented skier! Skiing, as funny as it sounds, was the main mode of transportation in the film, and Jimmy was a pro!

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